These past 18 months or so have been interesting to say the least. Challenges to our inner wisdom, personal relationships, and confidence in societal systems have confronted us each step of the way. Divisions have grown deep, accompanied by unfair generalizations, hasty suspicion, and even name calling. The lack of empathy only serves to widen the gap and increase the tension. There is no unequivocal right path here. There is only fear, and as usual, it hardens our hearts, clouds our vision, and creates “others” where there is only “one.”
This blog isn’t about condemning one side or the other. It’s an attempt to level the playing field by acknowledging the hidden mime in each one of us. While there are those who have lived extraordinary lives because they had a knack for accepting their unique potential early on, most of us have led much smaller lives. In some (or several) area of our lives, we chose a small box of comfort and safety over limitless potential of outrageous individuality and the vitality it generates. And we’ve done it for so long that we consider those who shoot for the stars, or steadfastly commit to their unique path, to be the abnormal ones.
Mimes are right up there with clowns. People either tolerate them or can’t stand them. So why am I suggesting we all have a little mime within us? If you’ve ever watched a mime, there is almost always a time where they seem to be in a box. You can watch them “feel” around for an exit, but they look trapped. Good mimes can be so convincing that it looks like they’re in an invisible cube. Without realizing it sometimes, our choices and beliefs create invisible boxes in our own lives. While some boxes may make you feel safe and secure, they come with the high price of self-imposed limitations. The mime is putting on a show and can get out of the “box” at any time. But when it comes to our own lives, we prefer to blame others, the government, bad teachers, or a terrible boss, etc., for our circumstances. We rarely stop to take the big gulp of humility needed to admit, “I put myself here”.
Even when we may feel like we have legitimate reasons to think someone or something else is to blame, it was our choice to believe it, say yes, or take it in and internalize it. It was our choice to give up our power in the first place. Embracing the mime within allows the walls to come down because we now realize we were the ones who built them. If we rely on others to fix our lives, it’s like we’re waiting on someone else to show up on our doorstep with a happy life wrapped up with a pretty bow, and while we’re waiting, we’re telling every cell in our body we’re a victim.
Throughout the ages, the greatest contributors to our world were not followers, small thinkers, or conformists. They broke boundaries, beginning with their own minds, then endured societal ridicule before breaking through what society had considered “normal”. These people tapped into their truest nature, and accepted the baton handed them at birth to shine in this world for the good of all. Many were not even recognized for their contributions until well after their death. But they weren’t in it for the accolades, they lived life on their own terms, and that was its own reward.
Where are we today? Rolling down a hill bumping into one crisis after another. And why? Too many mimes creating imaginary limitations and not enough improv actors willing to say YES to life. Thank God we at least have each chosen different limitations. Imagine the things we would never have seen if everyone believed in the same limitations. Now imagine a world where we encourage out-of-the-box thinking and allowed the genius within each of us to flourish for the good of all.
One of Rumi’s famous quotes says, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” When quoted, most of the time it stops there. But the next sentence says, “When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” How poignant in these times. Only when we stop allowing fear to drive our actions, keep us small, and divide us all into the wrongs and the rights, can we take a deep, compassionate breath, and enter sublime unity. From that space alone do we have the capacity to allow true answers to flow through us as a collective.
Les Brown reminds us, “Life has no limitations; except the ones you make.” Don’t let your inner mime make your life smaller than it was meant to be. You did not come here to erect walls but to dissolve them.
Blessings on your journey!